Demolition beginning for blighted Petersburg Ramada Inn

Petersburg's 'biggest eyesore' - will soon be a thing of the past! City leaders announced - the former Ramada Inn which has been left in a state of disrepair si
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 8:28 PM EDT
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PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - For decades, the decaying derelict of the abandoned Ramada Inn was the first thing drivers saw as they passed Petersburg, driving down I-95. Soon the cracked glass and boarded windows that have negatively plagued the city’s image will be a thing of the past.

“Today, we’re going to tear this hotel down. That’s what we’re going to do about this hotel,” Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham said.

The dilapidated hotel was built in 1973 and closed in 2012.

“This is the gateway to Peterburg, but it’s not the gateway we want,” Senator Joe Morrisey said.

Parham says getting rid of the former Ramada Inn has been one of the most significant issues among Petersburg residents for several years. With the help of $2.6 million in funding from the General Assembly, Parham says the city now has the money to demolish the disheveled building. Parham says he’s been working with state leaders like Senator Joe Morrisey since 2020 to devise a means to get rid of the crumbling hotel.

“It looks like war-torn Baghdad or war-torn Beirut when they saw this,” Morrisey said. “No longer will people say, ‘let’s get rid of that monstrosity.’ It’s been done.”

According to Parham, the city acquired the site from its developers for one million dollars.

The Ramada Inn’s destruction was commemorated with the controlled demolition with a groundbreaking ceremony where state and city leaders grabbed gold-painted sledgehammers, which they used to crush cinderblocks.

A construction claw was also brought in to tear apart the front-facing facade of the building Monday afternoon.

In the next few weeks, construction crews will be brought in to finish the rest of the job, which will last over the next several months. Contractors expect demolition to be completed by December.

The building will be taken apart piece by piece. Contractors say this is the safest way to destroy it.

Parham says it’s the first significant step in a new partnership with Governor Glenn Youngkin to revitalize the city.

“What this symbolizes is the moving on from the Petersburg of the past, of blight and lack of investment. What you see today with the Petersburg partnership is Governor Youngin and his staff have given us a long-term commitment to the city and finally being on the radar of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Parham said.

An area for green space is planned once demolition is complete. Still, Parham says with prospects of a casino in Petersburg, there is renewed interest in hotels or living spaces that could generate revenue to help the city expand.

“The economic commitment that I’ve even from the casino operators I have talked to are committed to being in Petersburg to help us build new schools, improve our infrastructures, pay our police and firefighters the salaries they deserve, and improve our city facilities,” Parham said.

The city expects to have roughly one million dollars left over for site developments after demolition.